Posted: Wednesday, 4 January 2012 @ 10:34
In keeping with the chiding tone of the report, the Information Commissioner himself says that the report can be summed up by the schoolteacher’s favourite clichés: “could do better” and “must try harder”. It seems that at present he doesn’t think that there are many ‘star pupils’ who are getting it right with their websites. He accepts that compliance is not easy to achieve, but what seems to concern him more is that too many website owners still appear not to be doing anything at all.
There is also a defensive element to the report resulting no doubt in part from criticism levelled at the perceived inadequacy of some of the advice given in the original guidance. The Commissioner points out for example that it is compliance with the law itself, not the ICO’s advice, which presented the biggest challenge - presumably a subtle reference to the fact that the regulations were introduced to comply with an EU Directive, rather than originating in the UK.
The Commissioner issued his report at the same time as the ICO published an updated version of its guidance on compliance with the regulations. That guidance has now tripled in size. The Commissioner indicates that the ICO has tried to answer many of the questions that have been asked over the last six months and that the main revisions relate to the following areas: what is “strictly necessary”, analytics cookies, the ICO’s regulatory priorities, examples of what works, details of what a cookie audit looks like.
If, like many other website owners, you might have not yet taken any steps towards achieving compliance, I will share with you another schoolteacher-type statement from the Commissioner’s report by way of indication as to the approach likely to be taken by the ICO: “...be assured that if we get complaints or have concerns then we will be checking your site and we will take the necessary steps to ensure that you do work towards compliance.”
I would recommend that you heed the Information Commissioner's warning and start preparing now if your website does not yet comply with the regulations. I will follow up shortly with more details from the ICO’s updated guidance. In the meantime, if you would like any further information please contact me.
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Blog by Sue Mann
Sue is an experienced commercial solicitor based in Birmingham from where she helps businesses all over the country advising on, drafting, and reviewing business contracts and commercial agreements. View profile
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